The NCAA tournament has a grip on this country for a few reasons. I’d like to believe that the main reason is the love of basketball, but I’m afraid that’s just not it.
The culprit is this country’s obsession with gambling. Not just Las Vegas gambling, but office pools, online competitions and the like have permeated our national fabric.
Accountants, housewives and politicians who may not watch a single college basketball game still attempt to fill out a bracket for whichever prize is offered.
Why do they do it?
I believe the answer is a mix between the aforementioned love of gambling and all of our love of being right.
We love to have something happen and to be able to say, “I called that” or “I told you so.”
So how do we get to the position of knowing nothing about these games to being experts?
We let someone else do the work.
The good people in Las Vegas have already done the thinking for us and have established which games will be runaways and which will be barnburners. They do this through the betting line.
Each game is big money and therefore must be scrutinized so that the casinos don’t take a bath.
The closer the line, the more likely chance the underdog has in winning.
Here’s what Las Vegas tells us about the Midwest Region.
Note: There are no lines yet for North Carolina's game or Temple's game, as their opponents have not been decided yet. For your printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA tournament, click here.